More than a Lift and Shift: Moving Dozens of Sites onto Optimizelys

A project in process, we are helping move dozens of sites for a major investment firm onto Optimizely.

It’s one thing to try to swap out a content management system from one site. Now imagine doing that for dozens of sites under the same umbrella.

That’s what Blend was tasked with as we worked (and continue to work) with an agency partner to provide a CMS forklift for a major investment services company. With one site under our belt and dozens more to come, Blend’s experience working with both partner agencies and serving as a for-hire development resource has helped us expertly navigate what will be a large and complex project.

For this project, we worked with an agency partner to begin a long transition from a home-grown content management system toward Optimizely (formerly Episerver). While our client provided the initial design, and our agency partner provided site strategy and analytics, Blend was tasked with making sure that the design and content — as well as the new Opitmizely install — played nice together. What’s more, this was not a quick single-site lift-and-shift; this was (and continues to be) a years long, gradual transition of multiple sites.

This meant a little more than just dropping some old content onto a new template. When tackling a CMS project like this, in which an entire ecosystem of sites is transitioned over into a new system, Blend needed to consider:

  • Standardization of templates and code across all of the different sites
  • The accessibility and best practices of existing design
  • Adapting the content model to create consistent templates across multiple sites

From there, integration of Opitmizely’s standard governance and workflow features, which helped move our client away from a more archaic ticketing system, provided a level of compliance approval control that they simply couldn’t replicate within their custom built CMS.

It’s not over yet, and that’s what makes it so fun. While we started with a set of marginally connected individual sites, we’re heading toward a standardized design system that allows for consistency and reuse across dozens of sites. What’s more, the shift to Optimizely helped provide features and flexibility that they simply didn’t have in their home-grown solution. Win / win / win for everyone involved.

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